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Beer Glass Comparison

If you are new to craft beer you may have heard that the type of glass you drink from has an impact on the flavor and aroma of a beer. Sam Adams has a commercial out about the glass they developed specifically for their beers that help concentrate aromas and highlight flavors. The question is does the glass you drink from actually impact the beer you are drinking?


If you have been a reader of this site for any period of time you will see that I generally drink all of my beer out of two styles of glass a Spiegelau Stemmed Pilsner and a Spiegelau Lager Glass (don’t worry the links are not commission linked).I used the Stemmed Pilsner for IPAs, high alcohol beers, and Belgians. The Lager glass gets everything else. I have dozens of traditional pint glasses but I don’t use them for beer drinking. Spiegelau has recently come out with an IPA glass, which you will begin seeing on this site, and it made me want to do an experiment.

To begin with I got a glass of the four types mentioned above and lined them up. I then got two of the same beers and split them among the glasses. I think took some notes about smell and taste. You can see the results for each of the glasses below. One note, the beer I used is a balanced IPA that has a good amount of hops along with a great malt body.


Traditional Pint Glass

Smell: You can tell this beer has hops but they seem a bit muted or aged. The hops are not bright. There is also some malt odors in there mainly bread and biscuit.

Taste: As with the nose, the hops seems a bit muted. Not clear hop flavor but I would edge on a slight grapefruit going to pine. The malt is round and is a bit stronger than the hops.

Lager Glass

Smell: Grapefruit and piney hops with a good helping of malt character. Slight caramel with bread.

Taste: Good hop kick with the flavors that the nose promised. Malt is crisp and full. Lots of good bread, biscuit, and caramel.

Stemmed Pilsner

Smell: Concentrated hops right off the bat. Malt comes in a bit later with some caramels and bread.

Taste: Bright but balanced hops. Grapefruit hops that flow in to a pine flavor. Crisp hop ending note. Malt is balanced and has some great caramels and bread flavors.


Smell: Smell matches that of the stemmed pilsner.

Taste: Taste matches the stemmed pilsner


As you can see the aroma and flavor of this beer changed greatly depending on the glass that it was in. The pint glass really muted the flavors and made this beer seem less interesting and fresh than what it was. The lager glass was nice but the hops was not nearly as bright as the other stemmed pilsner or the IPA glass. The stemmed pilsner and IPA were about the same for me. The only difference I found was that the IPA kept the beer smelling fresher for a longer period of time.

Bars cheating

I talked last week about my love of beer glasses and why I like to drink from them. There was something I forgot to mention. It’s the fact that a lot of bars cheat you out of beer. There are a few ways that they go about this, but the biggest problem I have is when I get a glass that is not full. I want my beer filled up to the edge of the glass. Many bars will leave a little extra space so that the bartender can get it to you easier.

Another way is the misunderstanding of a pint. A pint is 16 oz, but many places use these new 12 oz “pint glasses.” There is nothing pint about them, they are 4 oz short on bringing that promise home. That’s 25% of your beer! Bummer. Another trick used is to incrase the amount of glass at the base of the pint glass so it looks like a pint, feels like a pint, but there is less internal volume.

One cool solution to this problem is the Beer Gauge (pictured above left). It shows you how many ounces you actually have in your glass, and how much is missing. It would take some balls to try using this thing at a bar, but it does stop you from getting cheated.

Beer glasses

I’m of the opinion that a beer is better drank from a glass than a bottle and better from a bottle than a can. If it were a math equation it would look something like

Glass > Bottle > Can

I think most people can agree with that statement. But what is it about a glass that is so perfect? Imagine sitting down at a bar and have everyone with bottles instead of a nice pint glass. It just doesn’t seem right (unless you are a some cheap college bar). I don’t know if there is a real reason for this, it is just my preference.

I love beer glasses. I have several different types. I started with the typical pint, moved to a pilsner, and then to a challace. I use all of my glasses (that’s what they are for) but some beers just suit some glasses better. Some are just for fun, like my 26 oz half yard or my boot like the one on the left. My pint glasses get a hard workout weekly.

Beer glasses are just one of those beer culture icons that I just love. I do have a strange fascination with beer, and beer glasses are just another way to express myself.

Do you have any preference with glasses, bottles, or cans; leave a message below.